Home Baby Crafts Interview and Giveaway
It is with great honor and pride that I welcome Cassandra Colgan to the blog today. She is the owner, proprietor, and jewelry-maker-extraordinaire from Home Baby Crafts, and she is pretty darn amazing in my book.
Home Baby Crafts was one of Birthing Beautiful Ideas’s first official sponsors last year. In just a little over a year since then, Cassandra’s shop has grown tremendously, delivering goods that support, inspire, and advocate for all birthing women. And I don’t just mean that in a metaphorical sense: Cassandra donates a percentage of all her profits to organizations that support maternal and infant health. (You can learn more about just how much she donated last year in just a bit!)
For the past few weeks, Cassandra has been doing some major overhauling of her shop. She just unveiled the brand spanking new shop last night, and to celebrate, she is doing THREE INCREDIBLE GIVEAWAYS here on Birthing Beautiful Ideas! First, however, I’d like to treat you to this interview with her. Be prepared to be amazed at what a lot of heart, a lot of hard work, and a lot of dedication to women and babies can do.
1. When I first featured you on the site a little over a year ago, you had just started Home Baby Crafts. How has the shop grown and changed over the past year?
Wow… has it been over a year already?! Home Baby Crafts has grown more than I could have ever hoped or expected. When we first interviewed my shop was focused more on nature and expressing motherhood through nature. Since, I have added the abstract collection which includes wire abstracts that celebrate different aspects of motherhood. The abstracts are single strands of wire that are formed to make outlined images representing everything from water birth to cesareans, baby-wearing and breastfeeding, midwifery and doulas… I finally designed a logo, won a few jewelry competitions, and most importantly, made a huge upgrade in materials.
2. One of the things we talked about in that interview was your desire to donate a part of your proceeds to organizations devoted to pregnancy, birth, and maternal and child health. Would you like to share just how much HBC was able to donate last year?
Not just Home Baby Crafts… but every single person that made a purchase donated. Every tree, abstract, and custom piece purchase played a role in earning money to donate. Without my awesome, loyal, customers, I would not be able to donate a dime! One of the first things I personally did was sponsor “Birth the Play” in Syracuse, NY. I actually made the drive up so I could be there to support the wonderful people who introduced me to the idea being able to VBAC since it was that VBAC that inspired it all! HBC donated free necklaces to over 20 events nationwide to help with fundraising events for organizations like Friends of Missouri Midwives, Sacred Mountain Midwifery, and LLLI, just to name a few. HBC donated $1850 to CHOICE (Center for Humane Options in Childbirth Experiences in Columbus, OH), 16 angel baby abstracts to grieving mother who were suffering from loss, and for Christmas HBC ran a doula giveaway contest and chose two winners who received doula care paid in full, compliment of Home Baby Crafts. In total $1650 was donated to those 2 mothers and their births. Between sponsorships, fundraising jewelry, and donations HBC was able to give over $6000 in the year 2012 to support mothers and the maternity community.
3. We also talked a bit about your birth stories–a planned cesarean section and a home VBAC–and how they transformed you. In what ways has the birth and growth of HBC transformed you too?
Just like with labor and birth, my business has taught me endurance. Sometimes it is hard. Being the sole owner, operator, and creator of everything in my store has its drawbacks. I find it easy to become overwhelmed at times with the amount of orders, especially around the holidays. I have even found myself contemplating quitting at points! Not because I wasn’t doing well, but because I was doing too well and it was hard for me to keep up to my own standards. Just like when I had labored for 12 hours only to hear I was still at 4cm! I have accepted now that it is okay to take a little more time to turn orders around when backed up and it is okay to tell people, “hey, I need time” and close the shop for a day or two if I need to catch up or catch a break. It is too easy to get burnt out in any aspect of life and owning a business has helped me learn how to keep working through those rough points.
4. Speaking of which, you are expecting another baby right now–and your first girl too! How does your pregnancy inspire some of the pieces you now create? On the other hand, what have been some of the main challenges in intertwining a booming business, a pregnancy, and your two young sons?
Hahaha… yeah… people keep asking me, “Do you know how that happens yet?” Getting pregnant 10 months postpartum was not necessarily planned, but we are excited as ever! I was thrilled to find out (then confirm twice more) we are having a girl. Baby girl Azzie (nickname for Azalea) has been helping me find the motivation to expand and grow my shop. I hate to put it this way, but children cost money, and having three children and staying at home is not an easy financial accomplishment, so she and my boys are my main motivation to keep rolling and growing! The hardest part of owning a home business is finding time that is interruption free. I constantly have to stop working to tend to needs, and with not having an actual office to store everything and work, I work wherever I can around the house with little ones wanting to “help”. If only they could!
5. Can you share with us some of the exciting ways in which HBC is expanding?
Now this question I am really excited to answer! For months now I have been toying around with the idea, well what if I added nursing necklaces to my shop? What about infant scale slings, that doulas and homebirth midwives can use to weigh the babes? Wall hangings? I have had TONS of stones setting around with great ideas on how to use them but very little time to actually do anything with them. I finally made the decision, I am going to shut the shop down and finally expand. I wanted to add all these items so I can appeal to more people, as not everyone likes jewelry. It is my goal over the next few weeks to add even more and get my shop over 100 items! HBC has sat at 20 or so items for a year now and has been amazingly successful, so why not add more? The nice thing about many of the new additions is that they are already made and ready to ship! Speaking of which, a good amount of these new items can be found there now, so I encourage everyone to check them out! Shop is re-opening today!
And now for the incredible giveaway! I’m sorry, did I say giveaway? I mean giveaways! As in plural giveaways!
To celebrate the grand re-opening of Home Baby Crafts, Cassandra is giving away an item of your choice, a nursing necklace, and a midwifery sling to three lucky BBI readers! See below for contest entry details, terms, and conditions (including a shout out to another blogger who is local to both Cassandra and me, Modern Alternative Mama). And good luck to all who enter!
Disclaimer: Home Baby Crafts is a Birthing Beautiful Ideas sponsor.